Has The Call of Duty Series Failed Us?

Has the Call of Duty series failed the gamers that helped make it great? Let's talk about why future warfare isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I'm going to say something that might be a little controversial: The Call of Duty games aren't what they used to be. In fact, they've become pretty pedestrian. Here's why. 

Call of Duty World at War was the first video game I owned and it sparked my love for the series. But along the way I believe the series as a whole has lost its touch. Each entry used to stand as a historical escapism, from missions on the front lines of World War II to the Bay of Pigs mission in Black Ops, the Call of Duty games taught us more than a history class ever could in a fun, tense and interactive manner.

But flash forward to 2016 and recent entries have bombarded us with cyber-soldiers, space wars, exoskeleton suits and boosters on the bottom of our boots!

Of course, you may be completely unlike me -- and I respect you for that. You may be excited when you hear of this new tech and weaponry, but the majority of players my age or older who grew up in the age of Mason, Soap, Ghost and Price have tired of hearing about imaginary weapons and spaceships. CoD used to entice players into an out-of-ordinary-life experience that was also somewhat realistic. But the idea that players are hopping about in space or shooting lasers at each other baffles me, and it adds a somewhat goofy feel to the games.

Can you remember being new to gaming (having received an Xbox of PlayStation from santa)? Then storming the front lines of infamous battles in World War II, attempting to take back beaches and villages from the Germans? To me, that's what CoD is all about. Not this futuristic nonsense.

Remastering CoD 4 has been a much-needed breather for us old-timers, a good call by Activision on the whole. Bringing back Price and Soap and the amazing Modern Warfare multiplayer experience has been like nothing I've experienced from the series in years. While obvious fiction, the story-driven campaign is at least plausible (on a certain level), and really brings back to life the iconic missions of early CoD games, especially missions like 'All Ghillied Up,' often referred to as the most iconic mission of the entire franchise.

As the series moved forward, entries like Black Ops or Modern Warfare 2 were really where the franchise began to flourish in both single and multiplayer. Unlike other war games at the time, the multiplayer experiences found in those gems was second to none, while the campaigns offered an enticing and engaging story. 

But when Black Ops 2 came along, everything began to change. We saw the introduction of more and more futuristic methods of gameplay and sci-fi esque weaponry. Campaigns became less about the story and characters and more about spaceships and made up weapons.

The real emotion caused by deaths of major (and even minor) characters in earlier games was replaced by cold steel and disconnection of robots and machinery. Of course, you may like this move into the future and the allegory it (potentially) tells, and of course, you have the right to do so -- but I believe it's killing the franchise.

At this point, maybe the series hasn't fully failed us with the reboot of CoD 4, but in my opinion, for the series to survive and win back old players (like me), the developers must go back to their old ways and create games that move players. The introduction of futuristic aspects I'm sure does appeal to some players, but not the entire 

The introduction of futuristic aspects I'm sure does appeal to some players, but not the entire CoD community, and in this way, the devs have lost many long term fans to Battlefield or other games that either do future warfare better or have reinvented themselves by remembering their roots. 

At the end of the day, it seems high time that Call of Duty does the same. If not, the series will be stranded in the future -- where no one can hear it scream. 

Do you agree? Should the Call of Duty franchise take a step back to take two steps forward? Sound off in the comments below! 

Published Jan. 1st 2017

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